Obituary: Former UTSA coach Stu Starner could always bring a smile to your face

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

Stu Starner always seemed to have a knack for making people feel good.

I really think that might be his lasting legacy in college athletics, even though he won 194 games and four championships in 12 seasons as a Division I men’s basketball head coach.

Starner, who opened his career at UTSA with back-to-back regular-season championships in the early 1990s, died Wednesday. He was 81.

The news hit me hard this morning.

A friend of mine texted and told me that the coach had passed, and I immediately started to reflect on his personality and his charm, more than even the excellent teams that he put on the floor at the Convocation Center.

Starner, who won titles at both Montana State and UTSA, was just the kind of person a newspaper reporter wanted to cover. He never seemed to take things too seriously. He could say things to calm your nerves if something wasn’t going right.

He could make you laugh.

For example, at the outset of the 1992-93 basketball season, my world started to unravel when everyone at the old San Antonio Light learned that the newspaper might be closing.

At the time, I was covering Starner and the Roadrunners. I’ll spare you the details on the business transaction, but by January of ’93, the paper did indeed cease operations.

Pretty sure I talked to the coach after it happened and wished him the best, not knowing what I would do next. Fortunately, a few days into my unemployment, the phone rang. It was Barry Robinson, the sports editor of the San Antonio Express-News, calling to offer me a job.

Barry asked if I could continue to cover the Roadrunners, and it took me about a second to say yes. My wife and I were so happy, we put my one-year-old son in the car seat for a road trip to celebrate our good fortune. Also, to cover UTSA games at Sam Houston State and Stephen F. Austin.

After 15 years in newspapers to that point, you’d think I’d be unfazed by a road trip to cover two basketball games on the road. But, for some reason, I remember feeling really anxious on the drive to Huntsville. The coach, as I recall, was just the essence of cool about it all.

He greeted me with a high five as soon as he saw me. The next day, as his team practiced at SFA’s Johnson Coliseum, I brought my wife and my son to the gym. Little did I know that my son would be called out onto the floor by the coach near the end of the Roadrunners’ practice.

“Charlie,” Starner said in mock seriousness, as my son toddled around on the hardwood, “don’t you hurt my players.”

That was the coach, in his subtle way, always aiming to make someone laugh. His demeanor was just what UTSA needed in those days.

In 1990, Roadrunners’ basketball was in turmoil. Reportedly, Coach Ken Burmeister and administrators were at odds. Even though UTSA went 22-7 that season, it wasn’t enough, and Burmeister was fired.

Starner entered the picture and supplied immediate stability, guiding the Roadrunners to back-to-back, 21-win seasons and regular-season titles.

By the end of his first season, UTSA placed first in the Trans America Athletic Conference. Next season, the Roadrunners did it again, winning the crown in the Southland.

A native of Minnesota, Starner landed his first head coaching job at Montana State. He led the Grizzlies to the 1985-86 Big Sky Conference postseason title and to the NCAA tournament. A year later, he went 21-8 and claimed the Big Sky regular-season crown.

For his career, Starner went 194-153, including 84-58 at UTSA. But, as mentioned, the best thing about the coach was not the way he ran practices or worked the games. Oh, he was good at both.

Rather, I’ll always remember the guy who settled my jangled nerves in my first week at a new job. Pretty sure he was like that with just about everyone he met.

From the family’s obituary

Starner was predeceased by his parents, Allen Starner and Mildred Starner; and his daughter Susan Starner Plum. He is survived by his son Tom Starner (Kelly Ann); his wife Barb; his daughter Jane Hall (Dave); his grandchildren, Gordon Hall, Stuart Hall, Savana, Joey and Bailey Starner; and his siblings, Dick and Joanne Taylor.

A funeral service will be held on Monday (July 22) at 11 a.m. at the Bozeman’s Hope Lutheran Church (2152 Graf St, Bozeman, Montana, 59718).

In lieu of flowers, the family welcomes memorial donation in Stu’s memory to the Susan Starner Plum Memorial Scholarship Fund at the Montana State University Foundation, P.O. Box 172750, Bozeman, Montana, 59717.

UTSA women aim for an NCAA tournament run after a record-breaking season

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

The UTSA women’s basketball program hopes to hang a new banner in the Convocation Center before the start of the coming season.

Karen Aston. UTSA beat Northern Colorado 80-62 in the first round of the WNIT on Thursday, March 21, 2024, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Coach Karen Aston is entering her fourth season at UTSA with hopes of leading the Roadrunners to the NCAA tournament. – File photo by Joe Alexander

“I’m hoping they put that up at an appropriate time,” UTSA coach Karen Aston said Monday. “I don’t know what the protocol is. I haven’t asked that question. But clearly, there’ll be one up there. No question about it. That’s a good thing. A step in the right direction.”

The banner will commemorate the team’s performance last spring, when coaches and players made program history with only the third trip to a national tournament in more than 40 years.

UTSA produced an 18-15 record in 2023-24 en route to reaching the second round of the Women’s NIT. A memorable moment came at home on March 21 when the Roadrunners claimed their first-ever national tournament victory with an 80-62 win over Northern Colorado.

Their season came to an end on March 28 with an 80-64 road loss at Wyoming.

With summer conditioning in progress, the idea that the athletic department is planning a function to hail the team’s achievement will be a point of pride for returning players, but also will serve as a reminder that they aren’t finished making history.

“No question we’re setting goals,” Aston said. “It’s the same goal every year. We want to go to the NCAA tournament. Period.”

UTSA roster

Siena Guttadauro, 5-6 guard, junior from San Jose, Calif.
Alexis Parker, 5-9 guard, junior from San Antonio (Brandeis High School)
Emma Lucio, 5-9 guard, sophomore from Edinburg (Vela High School)
Damara Allen, 5-10 guard, freshman from Aurora, Colo.
Mia Hammonds, 6-3 guard, freshman from Cibolo (Steele High School)
Nyayongah Gony, 6-4 forward, redshirt senior from Lincoln, Neb., transfer from Mississippi State, also formerly of the University of Miami
Nina De Leon Negron, 5-6 guard, graduate senior from San Juan, Puerto Rico, transfer from the University of the Incarnate Word, also formerly of Austin Peay
Sidney Love, 5-8 guard, junior from Cibolo (Steele High School)
Aysia Proctor, 5-8 guard, sophomore from Schertz (Clemens High School)
Taylor Ross, 6-1 forward, freshman from San Antonio (Brennan High School)
Maya Linton, 5-11 forward, junior from Duncanville
Cheyenne Rowe, 6-2 forward, junior from Ajax, Ontario, Canada; played for UTSA last season as a transfer from James Madison
Idara Udo, 6-1 center-forward, sophomore from Plano
Jordyn Jenkins, 6-0 forward, redshirt senior from Kent, Wash., played the past two seasons at UTSA, transfer from Southern Cal
Emilia Dannebauer, 6-4 forward-center, freshman from Berlin, Germany


Center Elyssa Coleman (medical retirement) and guard Kyra White won’t be back this year.

They leave big shoes to fill as Coleman averaged 10.4 points and led the team in rebounding and blocked shots, while White — a do-it-all senior — started all 33 games and led UTSA in minutes (averaging 34) and assists (160 total). She also ranked among team leaders in rebounds and steals.

Jordyn Jenkins. UTSA beat UAB 76-58 on Sunday, Feb. 11, 2024, in American Athletic Conference women's basketball at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Jordyn Jenkins is healthy and working on returning to peak physical conditioning after sitting out all but the last dozen games last season in knee rehabilitation. – File photo by Joe Alexander

Scoring leaders among returning players include Jordyn Jenkins (17.1), Aysia Proctor (9.7), Sidney Love (9.6) and Idara Udo (7.4).

Others returners include Siena Guttadauro, Maya Linton, Cheyenne Rowe, Alexis Parker and Emma Lucio. Aston said Guttadauro continues to make significant strides in her development following a strong finish to last season.

The coach said she is looking for Udo to expand her skillset to boost the frontcourt following Coleman’s retirement. She said the sophomore from Plano is working on finishing around the rim with her left hand and is already looking better with her jump shot.

By losing Coleman “we lost experience,” Aston said, “of someone who would have been a four-year starter. You know, you can’t really replace that immediately, but I think we have enough bodies now that, on a given night, we’re going to probably be able to find somebody who’s going to do the work.”

In another development, Aston said she is looking at moving Love from point guard to shooting guard. Love, Guttadauro and newcomer Nina De Leon Negron are all working as combo guards, shifting between ball-handling and off-the-ball duties.

De Leon Negron, a transfer from the University of the Incarnate Word, might be a candidate to make the most immediate impact among newcomers.

Center Emilia Dannebauer, a 6-4 freshman from Germany, is the only player of the 15 on scholarship who is not on campus at the moment.

She is expected to report in August after working out overseas this summer in an attempt to make the German Under-20 national team.

Aston is watching closely the development of freshmen guards Mia Hammonds and Damara Allen and forward Taylor Ross. She said Hammonds has had an injury this summer and has been limited.

Both Hammonds (from Steele) and Ross (from Brennan) were considered two of the best high school players in the San Antonio area last season.

“I think the freshman class is ahead of the curve,” the coach said. “They have come in with a really good mindset. They’re coachable, teachable, all of that. Taylor Ross is maybe the sleeper of the class.”

Despite the injury to Hammonds, Aston said she has potential “to fit right in” with the Roadrunners with her athleticism. However, she may need some time to get accustomed to the physicality of the college game.

Siena Guttadauro. UTSA lost to Western Kentucky 73-67 in Conference USA women's basketball on Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Siena Guttadauro has shown marked improvement and may command an expanded role leading into her junior year. The native Californian hit a couple of three pointers in the fourth quarter of an AAC tournament victory over the South Florida Bulls. – Photo by Joe Alexander

Roadrunners’ talent level comes into sharper focus after roster release

Sky Wicks. UTSA defeated Incarnate Word (UIW) 90-80 in a non-conference men's basketball game at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Guard-forward Sky Wicks is now a member of the UTSA Roadrunners after playing last season for the University of the Incarnate Word. – File photo by Joe Alexander

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

Plenty of questions loom for UTSA men’s basketball as the program moves into the summer months armed with a new coaching staff and an almost completely revamped roster.

Perhaps the most important question being, can this team win? Can it have a winning season? Can it make a run in tournament play next March?

When first-year UTSA coach Austin Claunch met the media on Tuesday, he lauded assistants Nick Bowman, Joey Brooks, Trevor DeLoach and Joseph Jones for their work over the past three months in assembling a 13-player roster, including a 12-player signing class.

“I love this class,” Claunch said. “We’ve got size. We’ve got shooting. We’ve got athleticism.”

The Roadrunners will not be as big on the front line as last year, when they finished 11-21 for their third consecutive 20-loss season under the previous coaching staff.

Austin Claunch was introduced at the new UTSA head men's basketball coach at a public news conference on Thursday, April 11, 2024. - Photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA coach Austin Claunch says he’s looking forward to hosting full-roster workouts in coming weeks. – File photo by Joe Alexander

But they could present problems for opponents with size, skill and experience in the backcourt and on the wings, particularly with the likes of Primo Spears, Tai’Reon Joseph, Damari Monsanto and Sky Wicks, all of them double-digit scoring threats.

UTSA also promises to showcase some versatility and big-game experience on the wing with guard-forward Raekwon Horton, who has played in the NCAA tournament in each of the last two seasons.

All of those players potentially could pose matchup problems for Roadrunners’ opponents in the American Athletic Conference.

If there is a weakness in Claunch’s first roster, it might be found in a lack of size at the post positions, where AAC title contenders will likely trot out 7-footers and other assorted big men who will weigh in the 260-pound range or more.

UTSA will not have that type of athlete, at least not this season.

JaQuan Scott (6-8, 230) and Jonnivius Smith (6-9, 200) apparently will see a lot of time in the post, along with 6-7 Jesus Carralero Martin and 6-10 David Hermes.

“JaQuan and Jo are incredibly athletic,” Claunch said. “They can switch and guard every position. They can stretch the floor with their shooting. JaQuan can really score inside. Jo is probably our best rim protector and then David … he can really stretch the floor. He can really pass. He’s an incredible offensive player.”

Martin, who plays at 6-7 and 225, is another versatile talent.

“He can play make on the perimeter,” Claunch said. “When you’ve got shooting and speed like we do, I think him being able to initiate offense is important.”

Claunch said he’ll look to add a “true five,” or center, for the 2025-26 season. “But, to be honest,” he added, “I just think we got really lucky to add those four.”

UTSA roster

Zach Gonsoulin, 6-1 G Hometown: Houston, formerly of TCU
David Hermes, 6-10 F-C Hometown: Stockholm, Sweden, Indian Hills CC
Raekwon Horton, 6-6 F/G Hometown: Santee, S.C., formerly James Madison
Tai’Reon Joseph, 6-3 SG Hometown: Baton Rouge, La., formerly of Southern University
Paul Lewis, 6-2 CG Hometown: Woodbridge, Va., formerly of Vanderbilt
Marcus Millender, 5-11 PG Hometown: Houston, formerly of South Alabama
Jesus Carralero Martin, 6-7 F/C Hometown: Malaga, Spain, formerly of Missouri
Damari Monsanto, 6-6 SG Hometown: Pembroke Pines, Fla., formerly of Wake Forest
Jaquan Scott, 6-8 F/C Hometown: Dallas, formerly of Mississippi State
Jonnivius Smith, 6-9 F/C Hometown: Selma, Ala., formerly of Buffalo
Primo Spears, 6-3 CG Hometown: Hartford, Conn., formerly of Florida State
Skylar Wicks, 6-6 G/F Hometown: Jersey City, N.J., formerly of Incarnate Word
Nazar Mahmoud, 6-4 G Hometown: Leander, UTSA returning player

Riding the wings

UTSA’s backcourt and wing players are expected to be the team’s strength as the Roadrunners enter their second season in the AAC.

Primo Spears, Tai’Reon Joseph, Damari Monsanto and Sky Wicks all bring credentials as explosive scorers. Raekwon Horton will come in with a long wingspan, defensive prowess and big-game experience. Paul Lewis and Marcus Millender can both handle the ball.

So, who plays where?

Asked to talk about his point guard group, Claunch mentioned several players. He started with Spears, Millender, Lewis and Joseph. Likely 6-foot-1 Zach Gonsoulin is also part of this group, as well. In terms of ball handling, the coach also said he can see Horton taking on some of the load.

He described the South Carolina native as an athlete who can push it after clearing the defensive glass. And, what about the shooting guards/small forwards?

Again, the coach sees multiple options. Spears and Joseph both apparently can play off the ball. Nazar Mahmoud, who played a limited role with the Roadrunners last year, likely is a true two, or, shooting guard. As for two-guard types who can also play the three, or the small forward, that would likely include Monsanto, Wicks and Horton.

It’ll be worth watching during the preseason workouts to see if Horton, who reached the NCAA tournament with the College of Charleston in 2023 and with James Madison in 2024, can also play the four position, as well.

A comeback kid

Florida native and Wake Forest transfer Damari Monsanto comes to UTSA with solid credentials at the highest levels of NCAA Division I, despite two serious injuries in three seasons with the Demon Deacons.

In his first year at Wake in 2021-22, the transfer from East Tennessee State suffered a torn Achilles. After battling through rehabilitation, he emerged the following year in as one of the best shooters in the ACC, averaging 13.3 points for the season and 14.8 in conference.

He hit six or more treys in five games, once in non-conference competition and four times in the ACC. He rained a season-high eight threes from distance in a 28-point performance against Notre Dame. It was one of his six 20-plus point outbursts of the season.

Monsanto couldn’t finish the season healthy, as he went down again, this time with a knee (patella tendon) injury in February 2023. He returned to the court for the Demon Deacons in January 2024 and finished his three-year FSU career in a limited role.

In 11 games last spring, he averaged 5.1 points. Claunch is extremely high on Monsanto, who was the 12th and final commitment in UTSA’s class.

“People say that he might be the best shooter in the country,” the coach said. “I mean, he’s (almost) 6-8, with incredible range. He shot a super-high percentage in college every year. Forty one percent at Wake two years ago. Played extended minutes. So we’re really excited about him.”

The UTSA roster lists Monsanto at 6-6 and 225 pounds

“He’s still got some work to do, getting back in shape,” Claunch said. “We’re going to throw him in the fire (in workouts). But we’re going to be cautious at the same time.”


Primo Spears, who has played at Georgetown in the Big East and most recently at Florida State in the Atlantic Coast Conference, might be the most accomplished scorer in UTSA’s signing class.

Two years ago at Georgetown, the 6-3 combo guard who grew up in Connecticut led the Hoyas in scoring at 16 ppg, once scoring 37 on the Xavier Musketeers. Last year at FSU, he averaged 10.6 and dropped 17 on the North Carolina Tar Heels in the ACC tournament.

Sky Wicks had a big night playing against UTSA at the Convocation Center last season. He led the University of the Incarnate Word Cardinals with 24 points and 11 rebounds. He also had five assists and four steals in a 90-80 loss to the Roadrunners.

Austin Claunch unveils his first UTSA men’s basketball roster

New UTSA men's basketball coach Austin Claunch was at the Roadrunners softball game on Tuesday, April 9, 2024, at Roadrunner Field to throw out the first pitch. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Austin Claunch announced on Tuesday a 13-man roster for his first season at the helm of the UTSA men’s basketball program. ‘We’re really excited about the group as a whole,” the coach said. – File photo by Joe Alexander

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

First-year UTSA men’s basketball coach Austin Claunch has released his roster for the 2024-25 season. Twelve players are newcomers and one, guard Nazar Mahmoud, returns from last season. Here they are:

Zach Gonsoulin, 6-1 G Hometown: Houston, formerly of TCU
David Hermes, 6-10 F-C Hometown: Stockholm, Sweden, Indian Hills CC
Raekwon Horton, 6-6 F/G Hometown: Santee, S.C., formerly James Madison
Tai’Reon Joseph, 6-3 SG Hometown: Baton Rouge, La., formerly of Southern University
Paul Lewis, 6-2 CG Hometown: Woodbridge, Va., formerly of Vanderbilt
Marcus Millender, 5-11 PG Hometown: Houston, formerly of South Alabama
Jesus Carralero Martin, 6-7 F/C Hometown: Malaga, Spain, formerly of Missouri
Damari Monsanto, 6-6 SG Hometown: Pembroke Pines, Fla., formerly of Wake Forest
Jaquan Scott, 6-8 F/C Hometown: Dallas, formerly of Mississippi State
Jonnivius Smith, 6-9 F/C Hometown: Selma, Ala., formerly of Buffalo
Primo Spears, 6-3 CG Hometown: Hartford, Conn., formerly of Florida State
Skylar Wicks, 6-6 G/F Hometown: Jersey City, N.J., formerly of Incarnate Word
Nazar Mahmoud, 6-4 G Hometown: Leander, UTSA returning player


Claunch signed a versatile group. Seven of his new players — including Primo Spears, Jaquan Scott, Damari Monsanto, Jesus Carralero Martin, Paul Lewis, Zach Gonsoulin and Jonnivius Smith — have played for teams in power conferences. At least two of the players — including Scott and Raekwon Horton from James Madison — played on teams that reached the NCAA tournament last year.

Sophomore guard Nazar Mahmoud is the only player returning from last year’s squad. Steve Henson stepped down as UTSA’s head coach after eight seasons on March 14. Three days later, the Roadrunners announced that Claunch had accepted the job.

Claunch grew up in Houston. He made a name for himself as a head coach at Nicholls State University, where he won two Southland Conference regular-season titles, and then spent last season as an assistant on the staff at the University of Alabama. The coach credited new UTSA assistants Nick Bowman, Joey Brooks, Trevor DeLoach and Joseph Jones for their work in assembling the staff’s first class at UTSA.


“Obviously, it’s been a long couple of months,” Claunch said Tuesday afternoon. “We had a lot of work to do. I really want to thank my staff. These guys did an incredible job identifying guys that we thought fit into what we’re trying to do here from a talent standpoint, from a character standpoint. You know, and, we went out and got our guys.

“I love this class. We’ve got size. We’ve got shooting. We’ve got athleticism. I think we have collective rim protection with our mobility. Again, we have good length at the rim. We also have toughness on the perimeter that’s tough to break down on the bounce. So, just, overall, really excited to get everyone here for once and start practicing as a unit.

“We’ve got a good amount of guys here right now. It’ll be good to get the whole team here and start working. So, it’s been a long, productive couple of months, and we’re really excited about the group as a whole.”

Where are they?

Members of the 2023-24 Roadrunners have scattered in all directions since the end of an 11-21 season and the coaching change. Former UTSA head coach Steve Henson is at Baylor, working as an assistant on Scott Drew‘s staff. Point guard Christian Tucker is at Cal, preparing to play for the Golden Bears in their first season in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Shooting guard Jordan Ivy-Curry has landed on the roster at Central Florida, playing for the Orlando-based Golden Knights in their second season in the Big 12. Power forward Trey Edmonds is at Minnesota, ramping up in preparation to play with the Golden Gophers of the Big Ten. Center Carlton Linguard Jr., a 7-foot center who played in high school at Stevens, has signed with the University of San Francisco. Guard PJ Carter, who came on strong at the end of last season, has signed with the Rice Owls to play for first-year coach Rob Lanier. He’ll play against the Roadrunners this season in the American Athletic Conference. Forward Justin Thomas reportedly committed to Florida State of the ACC in May but has not been mentioned in any of the school’s news releases yet. Guard Adante’ Holiman has signed with Georgia Southern of the Sun Belt. Forward Chandler Cuthrell is on the roster at Purdue-Fort Wayne.

College World Series-finalist Texas A&M names Michael Earley as head baseball coach

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

Michael Earley has been named the head baseball coach at Texas A&M to cap a wild six days since an Aggies rally fell short in the national title game.

Last Monday night, the Aggies lost to the Tennessee Volunteers 6-5 in Omaha to end their best season. By Tuesday, the head coach who led team to the brink of their first title accepted a job to become the head coach of the rival Texas Longhorns.

Jim Schlossnagle was introduced as head coach of the Longhorns in Austin last Wednesday. On the same day, the Longhorns announced that three Aggies assistants — including Earley — would also make the move to Texas.

All that changed over the last few days as the Aggies pursued Earley, an Indiana native, who had built a reputation as a hitting coach at both Arizona State and Texas A&M.

At Arizona State, Earley was credited with helping slugger Spencer Torkelson become a No. 1 overall pick in the Major League Baseball draft.

At A&M, Earley served as the hitting coach for the Aggies for the past three seasons, helping the squad to two College World Series appearances. In his tenure, he developed Texas A&M into one of the most powerful and potent offenses in the Southeastern Conference.

This season, the Aggies were led by sluggers Jace LaViolette, Braden Montgomery and Gavin Grahovac, and they set program records for home runs with 136 and walks with a nation-leading 422. In the last three seasons, the Aggies have belted 306 homers, 704 extra-base hits and have reached base on 1,178 walks.

“Michael is a very talented coach and recruiter, but what stood out to me was his character and the relationships he has built with his current and former players,” Texas A&M athletic director Trev Alberts said in a release.

Earley was an All-Big Ten player at Indiana University. In 2010, he batted .352 with 13 home runs and was the only player in the conference to reach double-digits in home runs and stolen bases.

He was selected by the Chicago White Sox in the 29th round of the 2010 MLB Draft and played six seasons in the White Sox organization, reaching the Triple-A level with the Charlotte Knights. He completed his professional career with the Southern Illinois Miners in the independent Frontier League in 2015.

“My family and I couldn’t be more excited for this opportunity,” said Earley, who thanked administrators for the opportunity.

“For putting your trust in me,” he said. “Being a part of this university and this program are a dream come true. I will not let you down. See you in Omaha!”

Next season, the Longhorns will join the Aggies in the SEC. The two bell-weather programs in the state will reunite as conference rivals for the first time since a decades-old rivalry developed in the Southwest Conference and the Big 12.

The Aggies fled the Big 12 and started play in the SEC in all sports in the 2012-13 academic year.

AAC Commissioner Pernetti visits UTSA

American Athletic Conference Commissioner Tim Pernetti at UTSA on Friday, June 20, 2024. - Photo by Joe Alexander

American Athletic Conference Commissioner Tim Pernetti at UTSA on Friday. – Photo by Joe Alexander

By Joe Alexander

American Athletic Conference Commissioner Tim Pernetti was in San Antonio on Friday to get acquainted with UTSA athletic department officials.

Pernetti also met with members of the media on Friday afternoon at the Roadrunner Athletics Center of Excellence (RACE).

In April, Pernetti became the second commissioner in American Conference history. He followed Mike Aresco, who had led the conference since 2013.

American Athletic Conference Commissioner Tim Pernetti at UTSA on Friday, June 20, 2024. - Photo by Joe Alexander

American Athletic Conference Commissioner Tim Pernetti at UTSA on Friday. – Photo by Joe Alexander

Schlossnagle leaves Texas A&M baseball to coach at the University of Texas

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

Less than 24 hours after Jim Schlossnagle implied that he would continue to coach a Texas A&M Aggies program that reached the Men’s College World Series championship game, he was announced on Tuesday night as baseball coach of the University of Texas Longhorns, the Aggies’ traditional in-state rival.

“What a home run hire,” Texas president Jay Hartzell said in a statement. “Coach Schlossnagle is the best in the business, his long list of accomplishments is incredible, and his track record of building great programs is well documented.

“We are the premier baseball program in the country with legendary coaches, our six national championships and record 38 College World Series appearances, so it’s certainly fitting that we hired a coach of his caliber to lead us.”

Schlossnagle has spent the last three seasons coaching the Aggies, taking them to unprecedented heights. The former longtime coach of the TCU Horned Frogs led A&M to the MCWS in 2022 and again last week. The 2022 team went 2-2 in Omaha.

This time, the Aggies were loaded with talent, and even with injuries to a couple of key players, they made a spirited run to the finals against the top-seeded Tennessee Volunteers. No. 3 A&M finished 53-15 on the season, 9-2 in the NCAA tournament and 4-2 in the MCWS.

On Monday, in Austin, as the MCWS in Omaha was preparing for the championship showdown, Texas officials acknowledged that they had parted ways with eight-year coach David Pierce. By Monday night, Tennessee held off A&M 6-5 in an emotional winner-take-all contest.

In postgame interviews, a question to Schlossnagle about his “future in Aggieland” sparked an emotional response.

The question went like this: “With respect to the difficult outcome tonight, with the rumors circulating today about a specific job opening, what do you have to say about your future in Aggieland?”

“Yeah, I mean, I think it’s pretty selfish of you to ask that question, to be honest with you,” Schlossnagle responded. “But … I left my family to be the coach at Texas A&M. I took the job at Texas A&M to never take another job again, and that hasn’t changed in my mind. That’s unfair to talk about something like that.

“That’d be like you asking (Braden) Montgomery if he’s going to sign in the (Major League Baseball) draft. But, I understand you got to ask the question. But, I gave up a big part of my life to come take this job, and I’ve poured every ounce of my soul in this job. And I’ve given this job every single ounce I could possibly give it. So, write that.”

In a statement from Schlossnagle published Tuesday night by ESPN reporter Dave Wilson, he thanked Texas A&M administrators and the fans “for an incredible experience during my time at Texas A&M.”

“Although I know many will be upset with my decision, I chose to make a change to join a longtime friend to continue my career as a college baseball coach,” the coach said. “The run to the (national title) game was truly a remarkable one this year, and I will savor the memories and true friendships I have made there for a lifetime.”

In Austin, Schlossnagle will be reunited with Texas athletic director Chris Del Conte, who was athletic director at TCU when Schlossnagle coached the Horned Frogs.

Schlossnagle’s key staffers at A&M will follow him to Texas, including assistants Nolan Cain, Michael Earley and Max Weiner.

Tennessee holds off Texas A&M, 6-5, to win the Men’s College World Series

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

Dylan Dreiling homered for the third straight game to spark a three-run seventh inning, and the top-seeded Tennessee Volunteers held on at the end to win the Men’s College World Series with a 6-5 victory Monday night over the No. 3 Texas A&M Aggies.

With the win, Tennessee rebounded from a championship series-opening loss to A&M and claimed victories on consecutive days in Omaha, Neb., to put an end to the so-called “Curse of the No. 1 seed.” They became the first top-seeded team to win the NCAA baseball tournament since 1999, when the Miami Hurricanes won the title.

For the Vols, it was a sweet victory, one that yielded their first national title. On the flip side, it was a brutal loss for the Aggies, who were also looking to win the championship for the first time, only to fall painfully short on the last day of the season.

In a winner-take-all game at Charles Schwab Stadium, the Volunteers entered the bottom of the seventh leading by only two runs when they started to rally against Aggies relief ace Evan Aschenbeck. First, Dreiling hit a two-run homer. Then, after a Hunter Ensley single, Kavares Tears added an RBI double to make it 6-1.

The Tennessee fans at Charles Schwab Stadium were roaring on the play when Ensley scored all the way from first base. With Tears’ blast hitting off the wall in center, Ensley ran hard. He kept going, contorting his body and barely getting around A&M catcher Jackson Appel to score. The Aggies asked for an umpire’s review but the call was upheld.

In a drama-filled ending, A&M scored two runs each in the eighth and ninth innings. But after Tennessee reliever Aaron Combs threw a wild pitch that allowed the Aggies’ second run in the ninth and their fifth in the game to score, he struck out Ted Burton for the last out to nail down the victory.

On Saturday night, in the first game of the championship series, the Aggies jumped out to an early six-run lead and defeated the Vols, 9-5. They led by one run in Game 2 going into the seventh inning but couldn’t hold on, eventually falling in a 4-1 decision. Dreiling, a sophomore from Hays, Kan., homered in each of the three games.


Texas A&M

Overall 53-15
In the NCAA tournament 9-2
In the MCWS 4-2


Overall 60-13
In the NCAA tournament 10-2
In the MCWS 5-1


In postgame interviews, a question to Texas A&M coach Jim Schlossnagle about his “future in Aggieland” sparked an emotional response. The question came in the wake of developments in Austin earlier in the day that the University of Texas had fired baseball coach David Pierce, and that the Longhorns were looking for a replacement.

The question to Schlossnagle went like this: “With respect to the difficult outcome tonight, with the rumors circulating today about a specific job opening, what do you have to say about your future in Aggieland?”

“Yeah, I mean, I think it’s pretty selfish of you to ask that question, to be honest with you,” Schlossnagle responded. “But … I left my family to be the coach at Texas A&M. I took the job at Texas A&M to never take another job again, and that hasn’t changed in my mind. That’s unfair to talk about something like that.

“That’d be like you asking (Braden) Montgomery if he’s going to sign in the (Major League Baseball) draft. But, I understand you got to ask the question. But, I gave up a big part of my life to come take this job, and I’ve poured every ounce of my soul in this job. And I’ve given this job every single ounce I could possibly give it. So, write that.”

Montgomery, who hit 27 home runs this season to go along with 85 RBI, is projected as a first-round pick in the July draft. He didn’t play in the MCWS after breaking his ankle in the first game of the Super Regional round of the NCAA playoffs. As a result, the Aggies played short-handed in Omaha, without both Montgomery and left-handed starting pitcher Shane Sdao.

A&M players gave it their all to the very end in the final game, with Hayden Schott and Jackson Appel enjoying three-hit games and Gavin Grahovac contributing two. Appel scored twice, while Schott and Grahovac scored once. All three of them, along with Caden Sorrell, contributed one RBI apiece.

In the dizzying ninth, Combs entered to pitch for the Vols, trying to protect a three-run lead. But Grahovac greeted him with a double to left field. After Jace LaViolette struck out, Appel came to bat, and Grahovac took third base on a wild pitch that sailed high, tipping off the catcher’s glove and going back to the screen.

At that point, Appel singled to drive in Grahovac, who scored the first run of the inning and the fourth of the game for the Aggies. Throwing hard, Combs settled down and struck out Schott, with Appel moving to second base. Pitching to Burton, Combs faked a pickoff attempt and was called a balk, allowing Appel to take third base. He scored to make it 6-5 when Combs threw another wild pitch.

Finally, Combs settled down and fanned Burton to end the game.

Tennessee starter Zander Sechrist (6-1) worked 5 and 1/3 innings for the win. He allowed one run on six hits and a walk while striking out seven. Nate Snead pitched 1 and 2/3 innings, followed by Dylan Loy and Kirby Connell before Combs closed in the ninth.

Texas A&M’s Justin Lamkin (3-3) went down as the losing pitcher in an effort that went 2 and 2/3 innings. He gave up three runs on five hits. The former standout at Corpus Christi Calallen just didn’t seem to have as much pop on his pitches as he did in two starts in MCWS bracket play. In relief, Josh Stewart worked 2 and 1/3 scoreless while Aschenbeck yielded six hits in three innings. He was charged with all three runs in the seventh.

Tennessee pounded out 13 hits, including home runs by Christian Moore and Dylan Dreiling. Moore led off the bottom of the first inning with his 34th of the season. For Dreiling, the homer was his 23rd. Additionally, five players finished with two hits apiece, including Blake Burke, Dreiling, Hunter Ensley, Kavares Tears and Dean Curley.

Tennessee rallies past Texas A&M, 4-1, to even the MCWS at one win apiece

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

Two-run homers by Dylan Dreiling in the seventh inning and Cal Stark in the eighth propelled the top-seeded Tennessee Volunteers past the No. 3 Texas A&M Aggies 4-1 on Sunday at the Men’s College World Series.

With the win, Tennessee evened the best-of-three MCWS title round at one win apiece, with the third and deciding game scheduled for Monday.

Coming into Sunday afternoon at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Neb., the Aggies were 9-0 in the NCAA tournament and 4-0 in the MCWS and needed to win only once to clinch their first national championship in baseball.

They got off to a good start with Jace LaViolette hitting a solo home run in the first inning for a 1-0 lead. But that was it for the Aggies, who were limited to seven hits on the day.

In the wake of the game, the Volunteers were talking about how it feels to come within one game of the school’s first championship.

“It feels pretty dang good,” Stark told ESPN reporter Kris Budden. “You know, we got a lot of work left to do. We got to play nine innings tomorrow against a really good team. I mean, Game 3, final game of the year. What else could you want?”

With Tennessee’s season on the line, Dreiling continued to swing a hot bat in clutch situations. On Saturday, in Game 1 of the series, he hit a two-run homer in a three-run seventh. The Vols ultimately fell short, losing 9-5. On Sunday, he connected again, this time in a difficult lefty-on-lefty situation.

He clubbed a pitch from freshman Kaiden Wilson over the right field wall, giving the Vols a 2-1 lead.

In the eighth, the Vols struck again, this time with Stark doing the honors. He came to the plate with one on base and in an 0 for 16 skid in the MCWS, but he re-directed a Wilson pitch over the wall for his 11th homer of the season and his first since June 9. With one swing, Tennessee opened a 4-1 advantage.

“I was glad I could come through for my teammates,” Stark said. “I obviously haven’t had the best series. So, just trying to keep grinding, keep grinding at the plate.”

Tennessee pitching had a good day, striking out 12. The Vols got four innings out of starter Drew Beam and four more from Aaron Combs, who was roughed up in the Vols’ MCWS opener against Florida State. In the ninth, Combs, Kirby Connell and Nate Snead all pitched for the Vols, who had to hold on at the end to win.

Ted Burton led off against Combs and poked a single into left field. Connell entered at that point and yielded a single to Caden Sorrell. With the potential tying run at the plate, the Vols brought in Snead, who would face Ali Camarillo. On a slow ground ball to the right side, second baseman Ariel Antigua, whose only play was to slap a tag on Sorrell.

Not only was Sorrell the first out, he also went back to the dugout with a bloodied eyebrow. The next batter, red-hot Kaeden Kent, flied to the outfield for the second out. At that juncture, with runners at first and third, A&M sent in pinch hitter Ryan Targac. During his at bat, Camarillo took second base, and then Targac flied to right to end the game.

Despite the loss for Texas A&M, LaViolette emerged from a batting slump with a two-for-two day. Additionally, reliever Chris Cortez relaced opener Zane Badmaev in the second inning and pitched 4 and 1/3 shutout innings. He allowed two hits and walked five but had good life on his pitches, striking out seven.

“I guess the difference in the game were the two, two-out homers,” Texas A&M coach Jim Schlossnagle said. “They got the big swings at the right time, but we battled back. Combs obviously settled down the game really well for them. I thought Chris (Cortez) battled. I was proud of Kaiden Wilson. Just, two pitches got him. Dreiling was on the fast ball, and (Wilson) hung a breaking ball to the catcher.

“Close ball game, just exactly what you’d expect with these two teams. To think you’re going to roll right through it in two games is … that would have been nice. We get to play. We don’t have to play, we get to play the last college baseball game of the season, and that’s awesome.”


Texas A&M

Overall 53-14
In the NCAA tournament 9-1
In the MCWS 4-1


Overall 59-13
In the NCAA tournament 9-2
In the MCWS 4-1


Tennessee gave itself a chance to become the first No. 1 national seed in the NCAA baseball tournament to win a championship since the Miami Hurricanes did it in 1999.

Coming up

Texas A&M vs. Tennessee, Game 3 of the MCWS championship round, 6 p.m.

Kent-led Texas A&M beats No. 1 Tennessee, moves to within one win of a national championship

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

With his famous father watching from the grandstands Saturday night, Kaeden Kent kept his NCAA playoff hot streak alive and helped lift the third-seeded Texas A&M Aggies to within one victory of a national championship.

The son of former Major League Baseball standout Jeff Kent homered and drove in four runs, leading the Aggies to a 9-5 victory over the top-seeded Tennessee Volunteers in the opener of the best-of-three title round at the Men’s College World Series.

The Aggies hit well from the outset in front of a packed house in Omaha, Neb., building leads that grew to 7-1 in the middle of the third and to 9-2 in the middle of the seventh.

Undeterred, the Volunteers kept their poise and made it interesting. Rallying against Texas A&M relievers Josh Stewart and Brad Rudis, the Vols scored three times in the seventh to trim the Aggies’ lead to four.

First, Dylan Dreiling hammered a pitch from Stewart for a two-run homer. Stewart had pitched well to that point, but he would be lifted for Rudis, who immediately gave up a long solo homer to Hunter Ensly. When Ensly’s ball landed several rows deep in the left-field pavilion, Tennessee was back in the game, trailing 9-5.

A&M coach Jim Schlossnagle elected to bring in bullpen ace Evan Aschenbeck, who struck out the only two batters he faced in the seventh to prevent further damage.

Aschenbeck finished the game without allowing a run, escaping a one-out, first-and-third situation in the ninth to keep the Aggies undefeated at 9-0 in the NCAA tournament and 4-0 in the MCWS. The Aggies can clinch their first national title in baseball if they can win again Sunday night. A third game would be played on Monday, if necessary.

“I thought we played really well for the most part,” A&M coach Jim Schlossnagle said. “We got a lot of timely hits. Had some really good at bats against some really good pitchers. Tennessee’s got a great pitching staff. They’re a very diverse pitching staff.

“I thought (A&M starter Ryan) Prager battled through some things and (reliever Josh Stewart) was awesome. Evan was Evan. And Kaeden just continues to play outstanding in the back half of the season. It’s one win. Can’t make it anything more than that.”

Entering their fourth game in the MCWS tournament that started on June 13 at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, the Aggies had not trailed on the scoreboard in any of their previous three outings. Once again, they got the early jump, this time against Vols pitchers Chris Stamos and AJ Causey with a two-run first inning.

Gavin Grahovac opened the game with an opposite-field homer to right. It was his 23rd of the season. Jackson Appel followed with a one-out double down the left field line. A fielding error by shortstop Dean Curley compounded Tennessee’s problems, prompting the Vols to replace Stamos with Causey. After Ted Burton struck out, freshman Caden Sorrell drilled an RBI single up the middle.

In retaliation, the Vols scored one run in the bottom of the second off Aggies starter Ryan Prager but failed to capitalize on a few choice opportunities. Consequently, A&M came to bat in the top of the third, leading 2-1. The Aggies immediately took advantage, scoring five runs on four hits and an infield error. Caden Sorrell, Hayden Schott and Kent contributed with run-scoring singles.

Sorrell and Schott drove in one run apiece while Kent’s two-run single made it a 7-1 ballgame.

After the Vols added a run in the bottom of the third to make it 7-2, their prolific offense went into a lull. Prager, a lefty, worked another inning and gave way to Stewart, a righty, who started to frustrate Tennessee hitters with sliders and sweepers. All told, A&M pitching may have won the game from the fourth through the sixth, keeping Tennessee off the scoreboard in that span.

In the top of the seventh, Kent electrified A&M fans with a long homer to right field. For Kent, who replaced injured star Braden Montgomery in the lineup in the Oregon series, it was his third hit of the night and his fourth RBI. With the outburst, the sophomore from Lake Travis High School in Austin hiked his productivity in the NCAA playoffs to 13 hits and 14 RBI in only seven games.

Kent, a sophomore from Lake Travis High School in Austin, said he thinks his surge can be traced to the support that he gets from teammates and members of his family.

“The support that I get and the people that believe in me,” he said. “The people that have my back and I can count on. People like my parents, or my brother. Like, I can look to the stands, and they can give me the … they can pound their chest, like, ‘You got this.’ That puts a lot of relaxation on my mind.”

In regard to the pitch he hit for the home run, he said the pitcher hung a slider, “and I was able to get it.”

Once again, the Aggies won a game with youthful talent making significant contributions. From Kent. From Grahovac, a freshman from Orange, Calif. From Sorrell, another freshman, from Highland Village and Flower Mound Marcus High School.

“Even though they’re young,” Kent said, “I think we’re past the young phase. Gavin Grahovac is so mature. So is Sorrell. They’ve had so much experience (and) they’re good baseball players.”

Kent considers his teammates to be smart players who put in the work to prepare themselves in between games.

“Baseball is a frustrating game,” he said. “So, the consistency and the time that you put in is not always shown out on the field when you play. The countless hours in the cages sometimes turns into a 0-for-4 when you go out on Tuesday. But, it’s just the repetition, man. You’re stacking days on days. It has a compound effect, and you just got to keep pushing through it.”


Texas A&M

Overall 53-13
In the NCAA tournament 9-0
In the MCWS 4-0


Overall 58-13
In the NCAA tournament 8-2
In the MCWS 3-1

Coming up

MCWS title series continues with Game 2 on Sunday at 1 p.m. A Game 3 would be played on Monday if necessary.